ua law logo high res | Link                                                                                        July 3, 2013


This week's three featured members of the Arizona Law community are student Wade Van Sickle, Chris Fraker from the Development Office, and alumnus Skip Skinner. Enjoy!


Until the footnotes,




Student News
Wade Van Sickle (Class of 2014)
Van Sickle, Wade
Wade at the House of Ryu
Athletic Center
Wade Van Sickle transferred to Arizona Law to help himself get a leg up while competing for a career in professional sports.


After spending the summer externing in the Federal District Court in Phoenix, Wade discovered that the right law school for him was just down the road. "As a judicial extern, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with many outstanding Arizona Law alumni and current students," he said. "And I realized that the James E. Rogers College of Law was the institution that could best prepare me to accomplish my career goals."


Those goals reflect passions that the former collegiate wrestler has had since he was young. "I intend to use my law degree as a means to enter professional sports. I'm specifically interested in mixed-martial-arts, and the gaming and gambling industries." Wade also hopes to use his legal education to help reinstate the sport of wrestling at the 2020 Olympics.


Outside of law school, Wade maintains an active lifestyle of training and working out. He also noted that he couldn't be happier with his decision to transfer to Arizona Law. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to join the Arizona Law community, and I'd like to thank all of the faculty, the student body, and the alumni who have made my law school experience so enjoyable."


You can connect with Wade through his LinkedIn profile.


Faculty News
Chris Fraker

Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Chris Fraker began working as the Assistant Director of Development for the College of Law last August.


Fraker, Chris

But when he moved to Tucson in 2005, he didn't know what his background had prepared him for, other than playing the tuba. "I got my undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in music performance. Then I went to the University of Illinois for my Master's in music. And that's where things really changed for me." 


"I met my future wife in music school there; she's an oboe player. After I finished my degree and she her doctoral coursework, she won a job in Tucson. We made the decision to move, and we haven't looked back - she's been with the Tucson Symphony ever since, and we got married here in 2007. She also just accepted a teaching position at the University of Arizona. But my career path's been a little more varied."


In 2007, Chris decided to go back to school for another degree - this time in business. "I wanted to get an MBA to open up some doors, and again Tucson was the perfect place to be, since Eller is a superb business school."


Chris credits his education as well as the connections he made in business school with his ability to succeed at the College. "A friend from business school who works in development with the U of A Alumni Association alerted me to the position. I really enjoy working with people, and for institutions that make a difference, so it sounded like the right fit."


Fraker, Chris (family)

"It's been challenging, but also very rewarding. It has been really important for me to understand the history, the programs, the strengths, and the culture of the College. This has been especially important with all of the changes taking place in legal education and practice - the College has deep roots and the community shares strong values about the law and legal education, and those are essential to its success. Luckily, the people here have been amazingly friendly and helpful. And the alumni that I've connected with have been a fantastic resource as well."


"The best part, by far, has been witnessing how strong the Arizona Law community is. I've been fortunate in getting to work with seasoned attorneys, like those on the LCA Board, as well as graduates just a few years out. And the overwhelming sense of community has been invigorating. That, combined with a faculty committed to a superb and innovative student experience, make this a very exciting place to work."


Outside of his time spent working and connecting with alumni, Chris is a passionate Virginia Tech football fan and a willing supporter of as many Wildcat athletic events as he can attend. But the thing that keeps Chris and his wife, Sara, most busy these days is chasing after their son, Ethan, who will be two in August.

For more information on Chris, you can connect with him through his
LinkedIn profile.


Alumni News
Skip Skinner ('02)

Ernest "Skip" Skinner, who attended the College after a 28-year career in the Air Force, was recently named the winner of the 2013 Arizona Supreme Court's Pro Bono Award. He won the award for his work with the Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP), the Kinship and Adoption Resource & Education Family Center (KARE), and Tucson's new Veteran's Court.


Skinner, Skip

During his career in the Air Force, Skip flew as a forward air controller in Vietnam, later flew A-10 "Warthogs," reached the rank of Colonel, served at the Pentagon, and worked in Japan as the Vice Commander of the Fifth Air Force. He then retired, moved to Tucson, and attended the only law school to which he applied.


In talking to Skip, I got the distinct impression that he's really enjoying his retirement - a word that doesn't seem to capture what Skip does, or what many of our alumni do when they are no longer practicing law as their primary task. "Personally, I think I'm one of the luckiest guys going," he said. "I got to do everything I wanted to do in life. I got to fly fighters. I got to go to law school, and I got to pick what kind of law I want to do."


However, Skip did not immediately choose to spend his law career volunteering. After graduation, he took a two-year clerkship with the Honorable John Roll ('72) at the Federal District Court. "I loved doing it," he said. "I loved the man, and we became really good friends."


After the end of his clerkship, he worked briefly with the Pima County Prosecutor's Office before deciding to focus on volunteer efforts. "At this age, I didn't want to be that confrontational; when you're a prosecutor, it is confrontational every day," he said. "One of the reasons I dropped prosecuting was to get back to volunteering."


Through a partnership with VLP and KARE, Skip runs weekly Minor Guardianship clinics that aid pro se petitioners. Skip realizes that his job is crucially important. "Clients come in and they don't know what's in front of them," he said. "They know that their kid is in jail. They have their grandchildren with them. They've got to get them in school or have to take them to the doctor, and you are going to help them do that." 


Last year, Skip donated over 200 hours of his time as he led 59 clinics through the VLP. In his eight years with the program, he has served over 800 clients.


In addition to his work directly with pro se petitioners, Skip also works with Arizona Law students through the VLP's Minor Guardianship Court Project. Skip trains students in the forms that petitioners must complete, and sometimes supervises them as they meet with petitioners before their hearings and question them during it. "I'm impressed with them," he said. "It's a chance to get in front of a real judge, but it's not the most stressful situation. All of the clinics that the law school has are fantastic."


The VLP and KARE are currently expanding the Minor Guardianship clinics into Cochise and Pinal Counties. Skip is at the center of it, travelling to Sierra Vista monthly to conduct clinics. He is also currently learning Spanish so that he can better help out at the partnership's Spanish clinics when he is needed.


Skip has also recently become more involved in Tucson's new Veteran's Court. There, twice a month, veterans charged with misdemeanors can opt into diversion programs rather than face criminal charges.


And as with other programs Skip works with, Skip supervises law students, many of them veterans themselves, who represent the accused. "It's another great program," Skip said. "On one side you have prosecutors trying to protect the people, and on the other side you have law students trying to protect their clients." In protecting their clients, and seeking better solutions, the veteran's lawyers serve society just as much as the prosecutors.

For those concerned that Skip may be taking his retirement a bit too seriously, fear not. "It's fun. It's true. It's fun. I like doing what I'm doing. I've got the time to do it, and I still have time to play golf once a week."



Celebrate Independence Day With a Gift to the Veteran's Advocacy Law Clinic

The Veteran's Law Clinic provides legal services and support for our veterans and critical skill  training for our students.


Our online option to make monthly gifts using a credit card is an easier way to support any of the programs at Arizona Law:


Every gift matters. Recurring giving is a way to show your steady support for the College of Law as we continue to guide one of the world's great public law schools through changing and challenging times.


We Need Your Help - Update Your Contact Information

In an effort to stay in closer contact with all of our alumni, we are asking you to update your contact information this summer. Please help us by filling out the brief form at the link below. Let us know the best way to contact you. Tell us more about your career and how we can better serve you! You can find the form here.


Kathy Hawkes-Smith Joins College of Law

On Monday, July 1, Kathy Hawkes-Smith joined the College as the Director of Programming and Outreach.


Kathy has been with the U of A since 1996, for 16 years as the Director of the Office of University Events in the Office of External Relations, where she coordinated 60 to 70 events a year. More recently, Kathy has served as a Special Assistant to the Vice-President, Office of External Relations. 


Over the past few years Kathy has helped to coordinate many events involving College of Law guests, including Chief Justice Rehnquist, Justice O'Connor, and Jim Rogers. Her experience at the University and connections across campus make her a natural fit to direct our programming and outreach to the university community and beyond.  


Attorney Mentor Program - Tucson

Tucson area alums - Connect with the Arizona Law community by volunteering for the 1L Attorney Mentor Program. Mentors give first-year students a direct connection to the local legal community. Depending on a student's needs and interests, a mentor might provide advice on navigating the demands of law school, share insight into the practice of law, invite the student to a community or legal event, or engage in a common interest such as sports or music.


For more information on how to serve as a mentor, visit:



Alumni Reception - Phoenix, AZ - July 10

Please join us for an Arizona Law Community Celebration on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 from 5-7pm at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar - Dreamcatcher Ballroom, 2 E. Jefferson, Phoenix, AZ.


All alumni and students are welcome. Come to connect with old friends, network with new colleagues, meet our impressive students, and hear about the people and programs that advance our 98-year tradition of excellence. The event is co-hosted by Quarles & Brady, Greenberg Traurig, and LexisNexis. Please RSVP by July 5th to Marissa White, 520-621-8430.


Polsinelli Recent Grads
Dean Miller (second from the left) with recent graduates at a Polsinelli event


Dean Miller to Speak at U of A President's Distinguished Speaker Series - Washington, DC - July 11

The U of A President's Distinguished Speaker Series brings internationally recognized U of A professors and researchers to Washington, DC, on an ongoing basis to share their knowledge and research on a broad range of topics that play a crucial role in the future of society.


The Speaker Series is presented by the U of A Office of the President, the Office of Federal Relations, the University of Arizona Alumni Association, and the CapitolCats alumni chapter in Washington, DC. Dean Miller will speak about the challenges and opportunities for law schools in a time of change, and describe how Arizona Law is responding...and thriving.


For additional information, visit the website or contact Nancy Yaeli, Senior Vice President for Campus and Global Partnerships at the U of A Alumni Association, at or 800-232-8278 or 520-621-9034.


Upcoming Dates to "Meet the Dean" 

  • Washington, DC - July 11, 7:30am-9am, Morgan Meguire LLC, RSVP
  • Sacramento, CA - July 29
  • New York City, NY - August 6




Marc Signature  


Dean & Ralph W. Bilby Professor of Law
James E. Rogers College of Law

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